Japan Pledges Never to Be a Military Power

Manila Bulletin, July 12, 2008 | Go to article overview

Japan Pledges Never to Be a Military Power


Honorable Undersecretary Ernesto G. Carolina, Department of National Defense;

Distinguished Guests;

Ladies and Gentlemen;

It is my great honor and pleasure to welcome you all to this reception marking the 54th Anniversary of the Japan Self-Defense Forces. Let me first of all briefly familiarize you with Japan's security policy and Self-Defense Forces (SDF).

Although the security environment has changed dramatically since the SDF was established in 1954, the basic pillars of Japan's security policy remain unchanged. These are:

No. 1 To uphold an exclusively defense-oriented policy, without any power projection capabilities such as long-range missiles and aircraft carriers;

No. 2 Never to become a military power, possessing only a modest capability solely for defense. In fact, the defense budget is limited within 1 percent of our GDP, and nearly 50 percent of it is for salaries and food, about 20 percent for training and maintenance, and only about 18 percent is allocated for procurement of arms and equipment;

No. 3 To firmly adhere to the three non-nuclear principles of not possessing, nor producing, nor introducing nuclear weapons into Japan;

No. 4 To ensure civilian control;

No. 5 To firmly maintain the Japan-US Security Treaty, with more than 35,000 US forces personnel stationed in Japan at present.

On the other hand, in order for Japan to contribute further to the peace and stability of the world, the security environment of which has been changing rapidly, we have decided that the SDF should play more active roles in international peace cooperation activities, including international disaster relief. I would like to mention a few recent examples.

Japan has deployed unarmed military monitors from its Ground Self-Defense Force to the United Nations Political Mission in Nepal since last year.

Our Air Self-Defense Force is conducting airlift operations with its C-130s between Kuwait and Iraq for humanitarian and reconstruction assistance, and our Maritime Self-Defense Force is carrying out refuel operations in the Indian Ocean in the fight against terrorism.

Most recently, doctors of the Japan Self-Defense Forces aboard the US Navy Hospital Ship Mercy participated in Medical Civic Action Programs and provided medical treatment for more than 100 people in the Cotabato area last month. …

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